Can Hamsters Run Themselves To Death?

There is no denying the fact that hamsters love to run. These are highly energetic creatures who require ample space as well as apparatus like a ball or a wheel to run in. As a matter of fact, hamsters are born to run. Therefore, running is a highly natural activity for these beings. 
Can Hamsters Run Themselves To Death

In the natural habitat, hamsters are capable of running up to 5 miles almost every night. They do this to search for food while looking for places to hide –potentially away from the predators. In case these creatures are not eating, sleeping, or pooping, they are most probably running on the go. 

So, what will happen in case your hamster will not stop running due to the immense amount of energy they possess? This is a common question by most hamster owners. Let us find out!

Can Hamsters Die from Running Too Much?

Hamsters love running on their wheels because they like being energetic all the time. It is their favorite mode of exercise while also being an inherently natural habit. 

However, sometimes, it can appear as if these little creatures are spending too much time running on the wheel. It might appear alarming when it feels like they are only interested in running, and not any other activity. So, can a hamster die by running too much on the wheel?

Usually, hamsters are well-aware of their bodies and their specific needs. Therefore, they will not run too much on a wheel. Hamsters naturally have an abundance of energy. Therefore, it is quite normal when you see them running quite often throughout the day.

Still, there can be some situations in which excessive running can be a damaging activity for these beings. The main problem starts only when you observe them running extensively without doing other core activities like sleeping, drinking water, or consuming food. At this point, you are expected to step in and monitor how much time the creature is spending on the wheel.

Can Hamsters Die from Running on the Wheel?

Hamsters mostly like to run so much on the wheel that it appears as if they are running themselves to death. It can turn out to be a scary experience for owners as it feels like the small creature might simply die out of exhaustion. However, the only time you should be concerned about your pet from over-running is when he is dehydrated or malnourished

If your hammy has been running on the wheel extensively and has not eaten or drunk water for a significant period of time, then it should concern you. Therefore, if you think that this is the situation, then you can consider removing the wheel from the cage. In such a case, you should put back the wheel only for specific periods of the day. Follow this routine until your hammy gets back to normal on the eating or drinking schedule.

Once your pet starts eating and drinking normally, then you can return the wheel to the cage for good.

Is It Normal for a Hamster to Run on the Wheel All the Time?

It is completely normal for your pet to keep running on the wheel quite often. There are several reasons why these creatures exhibit this behavior.

  • Natural Tendency: These small rodents are created by God to serve as long-distance sprinters. In the wild, these creatures are capable of running around 5 miles or 10 kilometers. They might do it every night in search of food and shelter. As a species, hamsters are born to run. It is something that comes naturally out of them while they are capable of doing it quite efficiently. 
  • Runner’s High: There is no denying this fact! Hamsters simply enjoy running and do it for mere fun. A study was conducted on a similar species –mice. Researchers placed a running wheel in the native habitat of mice. Even without the requirement of seeking food or staying safe from predators, mice would joyfully hop on the wheel and continue running. 

Hamsters are also known to get a rush of endorphins when they are running. It is quite similar to humans when we tend to exercise. These creatures enjoy experiencing the ‘happy’ feeling. It is quite close to experiencing the ‘runner’s high.’ When this tendency is blended with the natural disposition to run, these creatures simply feel elated to do this activity on the go.

How Much Running is Too Much for the Hamsters?

Running effectively becomes dangerous for these beings when they are malnourished or dehydrated. It could also be detrimental in case they start getting injuries from the activity. If your pet continues running on the wheel without eating or drinking, then it is regarded as excessive activity. 

Another sign that your pet is over-doing the activity is when you notice some physical injury on the feet. Excessive running on the wheel is not right for these little creatures. Eventually, it could lead to blisters on the feet. For instance, most of the wheels having metal wires can be potentially dangerous for these sophisticated beings –especially when they are spending too much time on the apparatus. 

Therefore, even when the wheels might be quite sturdy or comfortable, it can still turn out to be a major problem if your pet is running too much on it.

Should I Stop My Hammy from Running Too Much on the Wheel?

In case your hammy is running excessively on the wheel, and not keeping up with food and water intake, then it is high time that you should interrupt the activity. 

While it is enjoyable for them, you should still be aware of the limits. To keep them safe from getting dehydrated, sick, or injured, it is your responsibility to keep checking on the running habit. 


Your hammy is a lovely, cuddly creature. Make sure that you take ample care of the animal by looking into its day-to-day activities. Have great fun!

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a little about me
Hi, im Sofia
Hi, im Sofia

I'm a mother of 2, hamster enthusiast, animal lover, and blogger. I have had five hamsters in my life, each with their own personality!

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